Institut Ramon LLull

Against the World

Empúries, 2023
416 pages

Contra el món

Against the World

Pere Antoni Pons

"A realistic novel with a cataclysmic premise: the sudden disappearance of a mountain range"

What would happen if the Serra de Tramuntana crumbled because of strange seismic activity and floated up into the sky, forcing the evacuation of a hundred thousand people and creating new land for real-estate speculation? This is the catalyst that sets this allegorical novel into motion, lampooning the corruption and greed that has created an inexorable state of emergency on the once virgin island. Its main characters are a former member of the hotel sector, a well-known painter and an environmental activist, each representing an aspect of society: tourism, arts, and ecology.

This ruthless critique of where Mallorca is headed is organized into six parts and employs a variety of forms including the epistolary, monologue, alternating third-person narration, and journalist reportage. Pons manages to combine heartbreaking parable and sarcastic plausibility so effectively in part because Mallorca’s hypercapitalist spiral in recent decades has been so grotesque, and its future or lack thereof mirrors the planet’s. Or, as Sebastià concludes: “Mallorca remained intact, the destruction is absolute.”


Pilar Lafuente

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